Guana Dam - South Side

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Written by

Sadie Frederick

Destination Distance From Downtown

172.2 miles


2 of 5 diamonds


Time To Complete

2 hours or more


Guana State Park has one of the most unique environments in North Florida; with as many as 44 species of mammals and several species of reptile and bird life, Guana has some of the most beautiful paddling North Florida has to offer. The winding Guana river has seven miles of tributaries and varied Florida landscapes.

The South Side of the Dam heads south down the river, which is tidal and saltier than Guana Lake. It has lots of wildlife from gators to oysters, and is structured with small creeks and deeper holes. If you catch an outgoing tide, you can ride the current down to the mouth of the river where it flows into the ICW. When the tide turns, it will take you north back to the dam making for a fun and easy trip.

Launching and taking out on the river-side of the dam should be timed so that you do not attempt at low tide. It is "tide sensitive" and you would have to wade through soft mud.

The south side of the dam has a paved parking lot and a concrete ramp wide enough for two vehicles. You can launch from there and head south down the Guana River.

FISH SPECIES AND TECHNIQUES:  Guana Lake is well known for some very large redfish and black drum.  Many trout reach "gator trout" size too! Flounder are usually found closer to the dam.  The fish are nearly land-locked in the lake and have no reason to leave when the dam wickets occasionally open.  They have no reason to leave and the lake is full of blue crabs, mullet, and ladyfish so they eat well and get big. 

Guana River has those same species but they generally run smaller than the Lake.  Since it is saltwater, there are some bluefish and sharks caught there, and I have seen tarpon there on four different trips. 

Topwater and shallow sub-surface lures work well early and late in the day on trout and redfish.

Float rigs with Gulp! or curly tailed plastics are good to troll and find where the fish are located, and light weight jigheads get down to the redfish and big black drum are feeding.    

CAUTION: There are alligators in Guana State Park. They are more aggressive during breeding season, which takes place in the spring. The alligators are found more often in the northern part of Guana Lake (Northern part that is north of the dam).

To get there from Jacksonville, head south on A1A through Ponte Vedra Beach.  The entrance to the park is about past Mickler's , and you'll see a sign for the park 1000 feet before the entrance on the right.


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Guana Dam - South Side

Jacksonville, FL, 32082
30.026838, -81.330886

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